“1st Yale International Malaria Symposium is a Great Success”
The Yale University Department of History and the History of Medicine held the “1st Yale International Symposium: The Global Crisis of Malaria: Lessons of the Past and Future Prospects” at the Omni New Haven Hotel at Yale on November 7–9, 2008. Attendees included Yale faculty, students, historians and physicians from around the country and world. The symposium, accredited for 16 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits ™, began what is hoped to be a long tradition at the Yale School of Medicine.
The course director, Frank Snowden PhD, Andrew Downey Orrick Professor of History and History of Medicine and Chair of the Program in History and Science and History of Medicine at Yale University, designed the program on the history and research of malaria that featured 18 international and national historians and physicians. The program took a “big picture” interdisciplinary look at the global malaria crisis from past to present. It examined the epidemiology of the disease, the research strategies of scientists to develop new weapons (medications, genetic engineering, DDT, vaccines), the planning of the World Health Organization, of national programs, and of NGOs. The program also looked at the lessons of countries that either successfully eradicated the disease, or attempted to do so and failed, and the problem of drug resistance.
Dr. Snowden created the sessions held throughout the weekend to include eradication of malaria in the United States, malaria and modernization: innovation and politics in early twentieth–century Bombay, the scientific and medical challenge of malaria, and prospects and difficulties of a malaria vaccine, among others. Each session also included a question and answer period that was very well received by the audience. These periods of questions and answers offered the opportunity for discussion to allow participants to share perspectives and expertise, as well as build interest about the global crisis of malaria.
It is anticipated that ongoing conferences will convene in the near future. A resolution paper was developed from the conference materials and it may be viewed here. The learning objectives for those who attended the conference included:
- Recognize the epidemiology of malaria;
- Identify the leading research strategies for the development of new weapons to control the disease;
- Interpret current thinking about the medications available to treat patients suffering from malaria;
- Investigate the anti-malarial strategies of the World Health Organization, or selected national governments, and of NGOs;
- Measure the contemporary resurgence of malaria in comparative historical context;
- Assess the experience of selected case studies of countries that have either successfully eradicated malaria or attempted to do so;
- Discuss the threat of the reintroduction of malaria into countries from which it has been eradicated.
Yale University Section of the History of Medicine is a freestanding unit in the Yale University School of Medicine engaged with research and teaching in the history of medicine, the life sciences, and public health. In addition to instruction for medical students, including mentoring M.D. theses, the faculty collaborates with colleagues in the History Department, in the Program in the History of Science and Medicine. The Section contributes to the Program's colloquia, and sponsors lectures, workshops, and symposia in medical history. Through research and teaching, the faculty seeks to understand medical ideas, practices, and institutions in their broad social and cultural contexts, and to provide intellectual tools to engage with the challenges faced by contemporary medicine.